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Durham University

Chinese Studies

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Publication details for Dr Binghan Zheng

2007 (co-authored with Mun, Tham Wai) 'An Empirical Study of Translation Units in English-Chinese Translating', Foreign Language Teaching and Research 39, pp. 145-154

Author(s) from Durham


This paper highlights some marked findings of TAPs in the study of translation units to date. Based on this review, a series of TAP experiments are carried out to reanalyze the concept of translation unit from English into Chinese, a remotely connected language pair. We suggest that there are two types of translation units: Subjective Translation Unit (STU) and Objective Translation Unit (OTU) and that translation unit is a dynamic linguistic entity offering indexing function. On the one hand, the selection of STUs and OTUs is indicative of the underlying translation competence of translators. On the other hand, throughout the process of translation, there is a floating selection of translation units which is to say the initial translation unit chosen, be it lexical or sentential or other linguistic units, does not stay throughout. Instead it varies dynamically with parameters such as short-term memory and text comprehension among other factors.